signs of overwork

11 Important Signs Of Overwork No Manager Should Miss

If you’re feeling overwhelmed and stressed, it’s time to take a step back and assess your work situation. Do you feel like you’ve hit the workload ceiling? Are you struggling to meet deadlines? Are you constantly working long hours? If so, it’s time to look at your workload and see if there are any signs you’re overworking.

This blog is for managers and leaders who are dealing with overwork. It highlights the signs of overworking that managers need to note to ensure that they and their teams do not end up overworking. By understanding the signs of overworking, managers can take proactive steps to prevent their team from becoming overworked and stressed. In the end, everyone will be happier – including you!

What exactly is “overworking”?

Simply put, overworking is working more than is necessary or healthy. Overwork can lead to burnout, stress, and ultimately reduced productivity. An overworked manager often faces endless lists of tasks and unmet goals. They feel that they never have enough hours at hand to do everything they want to. Overworked employees are frequently lingering in the workplace long after work hours have ended – just trying to finish that one last task.

Are all employees overworked?

No! Not by a long shot. But a majority of employees feel that they are overworked at their jobs. Overworking typically occurs when there are decreased hours off work or insufficient time for breaks to recover from work-related stressors. Surveys have shown that almost two-thirds of American workers feel overloaded at some point in their careers. Considering that most workers experience overload at some point during their careers, it’s imperative for managers to take note of the signs so that they can save themselves and their teams from overworking. 

11 signs of overwork that managers cannot ignore

If you’re feeling overworked, it’s time to take time for yourself. Here are ten important signs that you are overworked and need to take a break:

1. You are unable to take a break

You will often find it hard to take breaks from work when you are overworked. Having the time to relax can become a big deal when you are overworked. As a result of being present in multiple tasks and projects, turning off would be hard for you even when things are running pretty fine. Instead, your mind is ready to take challenges head-on always. Consequently, it does not get sufficient relaxation, and the stress continues to grow.

2. Your sleep pattern is disrupted

If you’re an overworked manager, your sleep is likely disrupted. The stress hormone cortisol will rise when you are overworked, and your body is not getting the rest it needs. It has adverse effects on your immune system and can lead to weight fluctuations and other health problems, disrupting regular sleep. You can find yourself either sleepless or constantly needing sleep and rest when you are overworked. Longer sleep than usual hours is also observed in overworked employees. Sleep deprivation can also impact how alert you are during the day, making you work even harder than normal.

3. Procrastination steals your time

When you are overworked, it’s easy to get caught up in work and not think about other things. In turn, time slowly starts disappearing from your day. You might find that you’re spending less time on personal tasks or just relaxing as opposed to working. It can lead to stagnation and a loss of progress, worsening the situation. As a result, your mind might turn away from work-related tasks in totality, leaving you in a spiral of procrastination.

4. Lack of energy

Overworked managers often find themselves short of the energy you need to do their job well. You may feel tired all the time and have little enthusiasm for anything. It is difficult to stay focused on work and function at full capacity. Additionally, if you frequently lack energy or motivation when working, it’s harder to take on new tasks or tackle old ones efficiently. When this happens, progress grinds to a halt, and the cycle of stress continues.

5. Lack of work-life balance

If work is taking over your life, you likely need to get the balance that you need between work and personal life. Long hours at the office can easily lead overworked managers to neglect of other vital aspects of their life. You might find yourself missing time with family or friends, which can take a toll on both your mental and physical health over time. When you don’t have enough work-life balance in your schedule, it’s harder to stay motivated and make progress on anything else.

6. Your work does not excite you

If you are overworked, likely, your work does not excite you. You may find yourself working on tasks that don’t interest or challenge you. When this happens, it’s hard to keep up the energy and enthusiasm necessary for a successful job. Additionally, when work falls outside your interests or abilities, staying engaged and motivated over time can be challenging. Overworked managers experience burnout and crisis, ultimately decreasing productivity even further. All of it harms your passion for your role.

7. Endless list of tasks to complete

If you constantly feel like you have a never-ending list of tasks to complete, overwork is likely taking its toll. When there are too many things to do and no time to complete them all, progress grinds to a halt. It makes work significantly more difficult and time-consuming than necessary. Additionally, when you’re constantly overwhelmed by the amount of work on your plate, it’s much harder to take the initiative or think outside the box.

8. Low productivity

When deadlines are looming and time is scarce, it isn’t easy to produce high-quality work consistently. When you are overworked, it is common to experience low productivity levels. You may be able to complete only a fraction of the tasks assigned to you each day, which can significantly impact your work output and overall efficiency. The resulting stress and fatigue will take their toll on your mental and physical health in the long run.

9. Impact on health is visible

When overwork impacts health, it can manifest in several ways. For starters, overworked individuals are more likely to suffer from mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. Excessive stress leaves you feeling overwhelmed and hopeless, which can lead to feelings of unhappiness and despair. Additionally, overworked employees are much more likely to develop physical health problems like heart disease. This is because long hours at work often result in poor sleeping habits and limited exercise opportunities. When chronic stress reaches an extreme level, it can have severe consequences for your overall wellness.

10. You are often multitasking

When you’re overworked, it’s common to feel like you’re constantly juggling multiple tasks at once. However, this is a sign of burnout and stress-induced fatigue. When you are forced to juggle too many different demands simultaneously, your brain begins to malfunction to cope. It can lead to problems with attention span, concentration, and mental agility. As a result, it becomes much more difficult for you to complete even the most basic tasks correctly – no matter how quickly you try! Moreover, multitasking and frequently covering up for other employees can lead you to overwork too.

11. Your efficiency as a manager is falling!

It is evident that overworked managers work with reduced productivity. Consequently, their teams carry on the impact too. Overworked managers cannot devote the time and thought to tasks needed to generate efficiency. Their essential management and coordination functions suffer, downgrading their team’s results too. Moreover, an interesting study by HBR has concluded that overworked managers are often unfair to their employees, showing a direct impact on their objectivity.

How to stop overworking as a manager?

There’s no denying that overworking as a manager can adversely affect your team and company morale. However, there are steps you can take to prevent it from happening. Here are a few things you need to do to avoid overworking today.

Review your roles and responsibilities

Make sure you understand the exact task you are responsible for and the level of involvement required from you. If there is any ambiguity or a grey area, work with your team to clarify these details so that everyone is on the same page. Furthermore, it’s essential to keep track of how much time each task takes – this will help you identify areas where you could improve efficiency. The key is to understand the effort you are required to put in and do so accordingly without exerting yourself beyond limits.

Adopt healthier time management practices

If you find that your workload is increasing despite trying to adhere to these guidelines, it might be time for you to consider alternate time management practices that improve your overall time management. For example, breaking large projects into manageable chunks can help reduce overall stress and anxiety levels. Additionally, setting aside specific times for personal work or rest can recharge your mental batteries and allow you to tackle new tasks with greater clarity and concentration.

Set boundaries and learn to say no

Having a healthy work-life balance is important, but it’s also necessary to set boundaries and say no when needed. If you overwork yourself, your health will suffer in the long run. Take time for yourself every day – even if that means foregoing overtime or working from home for an afternoon once a week. You’ll feel better mentally and physically as long as you can take care of yourself during times of stress.

Practice effective delegation

Although it can be difficult to let go of tasks and responsibilities, delegation is an important skill to develop. If you can effectively delegate certain aspects of your work, you’ll not only have freed up time for other activities, but you’ll also improve the overall quality of your work as a result. Delegating tasks can also make team members more productive because they can access better resources and grow their professional expertise.

Take time off when needed

Too often, we try to tough it out and work long hours even when our body tells us we need a break. In the end, it’s essential to take time off when needed. If you struggle to balance work with your personal life, taking some time off can be the best way to restore balance and improve your health. By taking time off work, you will set an excellent example for your team to follow, too, where they do not jeopardize their health for work.

Seek help from a coach

If overwork is causing you distress, it might be time to seek help from a coach. A coach can provide guidance and support as you balance work with your personal life. They can also offer coping strategies for times when the pressure of your job becomes too much from their experience and insights. 

In addition to going for in-person coaching, you can pick online coaching that adapts to your needs and offers many unique benefits. Risely, the AI-based coaching platform for managers and leaders, can help you identify, understand, and overcome challenges associated with managerial and leadership roles. With Risely’s customized coaching, you can access your skills and collaborate with your team to tackle issues head-on!


Working long hours has become common in today’s society. However, overwork can have severe consequences for your health and well-being. Taking the time to address overwork is essential for improving your work-life balance and overall quality of work. By following these tips, you can ease the pressure of overwork and restore balance in your life.

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